Friday, January 13, 2012

Chug, Chug, Chug Went the Little Blue Engine...

This phrase from one of our favorite books came to mind when I thought about writing down another step in our process. "Chug, chug, chug up the mountain...chug, chug, chug down the mountain..." It aptly describes how it feels to be slowly working through each required item of paper work. Yet, the time seems to be flying by and before we know it, we will be on our way to Ukraine. I think the advent of 2012 suddenly brought the reality of Rulsan and Nastia's arrival so much closer. We are really excited and anxious to accomplish this goal.
Today, we went for our next round of doctor's appointments. The nurse took blood and the doctor made sure we're not crazy. Once again, Dr. Bott waived the copay for his services in order to support us further. We will never cease to be amazed at the kindness and generosity of people!
Afterward, we raced off to support the Bahr family ( in their adoption fund raiser. They are struggling to make such a large amount of money. Such a sweet family!
Tomorrow we start pulling ourselves together to get our taxes done. This will set a record for the Morfords...taxes done in JANUARY. Crazy. But, our 1040 is required and needs to be notarized and apostilled, arriving in Ukraine with all the other paperwork by the beginning of February.
Honestly, with the complication and difficulty of all of this I don't know how anyone adopts internationally independently. If we didn't have someone holding our hand through each of these complicated steps it would take us years to do this!
  • send off for another copy of marriage certificate...done
  • fingerprinting at immigration...done
  • doctors appointment...done
  • blood work...done
  • proof of residence...done
  • fingerprinting at local police!
Chug, chug, chug up the mountain...chug, chug, chug down the mountain. Even though all the dolls and toys were asleep at the end of such a busy day, could the Little Engine rest? No! She had to make sure her friends arrived home safe and sound...

Monday, January 9, 2012

No Rest For the Weary!

We spent the holiday vacation ripping the house apart. We had to move the library and all the homeschool materials and computer out to create a teen boy room. We bought a new bunkbed to be able to house all three girls in one room and moved the other bunk bed into the former "boy room" to create a "little kids room" for the three younger ones. We also created a computer center where my cute china hutch used to be (which I created and painted myself...and is now in the possession of a cute lady with a country house in Lindon). We figure with eight children homeschooling, two of whom need to learn English, we'd better have a few computers and somewhere very public to use them! The whole experience was like moving...with no truck to put stuff in. But we're pretty much done and loving the new set up.

There are now empty drawers, empty shelves and empty beds all ready for Ruslan and Nastya to make themselves at home. I felt like the physical transition ought to happen long before they get here so the kids can prepare themselves for the rest of the transitions that will need to occur.

Now on to more paperwork. On February 22nd, our paperwork will be reviewed by the authorities in Ukraine. Our job now is to get through 20 pages of documents, all of which need to be notarized at then apostilled (international notarization), which include blood tests, fingerprinting, proof of residence, tax forms for 2011 (which means I have to do the taxes NOW!) and the notary traveling to the doctor's office to notarize while he signs, etc, etc. Woah. I had no idea what this all entailed.

One great thing is that a new law was passed recently that makes it possible to have Ruslan and Nastya's names on the document that will be reviewed. This will assure that those children, specifically, will be approved for us to adopt them. I've had a few people come to me with concerns about whether or not we will be able to adopt these specific children. They had heard horror stories and were afraid we were at risk of not being able to follow through. This is one more step in the assurance that there is nothing to worry about in that regard.

Our job now is to make sure all these documents are ready and apostilled by the beginning of February so they can be sent to Ukraine for that review date. If all follows typical timeframes, we will receive our invitation to travel back there (which is given by the authorities in Ukraine) in March. They typically give three to four weeks for you to get yourself back there which would mean we'd travel mid-April. After that three week stay, Marsh will be home for a week and then return for ten days, finishing paperwork and registrations/passports/etc and will bring them home!

So, suddenly it seems like things are moving very quickly. After meeting with our agency director over the phone last night and reviewing what is required for these new documents, I'm REALLY glad we spent the few days Marsh had off changing the house around. There wouldn't have been another opportunity to do it.

Hooray for it all! I'm excited.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Phone calls to Ukraine

We are so excited! We got to talk to both Ruslan and Nastya this week! We had tried and tried at the hours we were advised to call but couldn't get anyone to answer the phone at the orphanage. Thankfully, some of the other moms in the adopting group (Vira at and Becky at knew the trick...calling at midnight our time so it was morning over there instead of late afternoon. Becky told me she was praying that we would finally make contact with our kids.

Our first try, the line was busy (which was, in my book, a good sign because it meant somebody was there). We tried again and got another busy signal. Then our four-year-old woke up and needed some love. We sat their gazing at him and I suddenly felt that we had to call right that minute! Marsh got on the phone and within moments was speaking in Russian. We had gotten through!

About a minute later, Ruslan was on the phone with Marsh. They chatted about things and reminisced a bit. Ruslan told him they were going to the theater so he had to go. He also told Marsh that calling for Nastya at the same time tomorrow would work to be able to talk to her. We realized after hanging up the phone that if we hadn't called at that moment, we would have missed him because of how quickly he had to leave to go on their little trip.

It was so cute because when Marsh hung up he smiled sweetly and said, "That was my son. I just talked to my son!" Cute boy that Marsh.

We gave each other a high-five and committed to stay up late again to try to reach Nastya. This time, it was even easier. We were through on the first time and just waited a bit for her to get on the phone. It was our first time hearing her voice. Knowing that we would spend the rest of our lives dedicated to being the parents of the owner of this little voice created a feeling in me I can't quite explain. It's not exactly like holding your baby for the first time, but it's akin to it. There was this new feeling budding in me...a little bit of trepidation and a lot of joy with a little curiosity on the side.

Marsh talked with her for a while and I videoed the whole thing so the kids could see it the next day. We found out things we already knew from what Ruslan told us about her as well as a few new details...she loves to read and do math, she loves studying Russian and English, animals, singing, music and all colors. I did a little more poking and found out that her favorite color was red. Ruslan had told her that we sing a lot as a family, but he hadn't shown her our letter! The things you find out from the sibling! So, we're now going to write to Nastya and Ruslan separately. :)

Once again, my husband is cuter than cute. When he got off the phone with Nastya, he got this big grin on his face and kind of scrunched up his shoulders and said, "She talked to me in the familiar!" Which means, just in case you aren't well versed in other languages, that she was talking to him as she would someone she has known a long time or as she would a friend, rather than as a stranger or someone in authority over her. He was this little puddle after that. And what's cool is...I have it all on video! :)

We can't wait to call again next month! Thanks for the prayers, Becky.